Oil and Gas Corporation Ltd, India's integrated petroleum public sector undertaking, is in talks with Coal India Ltd and Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd to form joint ventures in the field of underground coal gassification.
According to a senior ONGC official, the joint ventures with CIL and NICL are expected to take off in six months by when ONGC would earmark possible UCG sites.
"With the signing of the technology sharing pact with Russia's Skochinsky Institute of Mining on Monday, we are going to look for possible UCG sites for our first pilot project. The survey for the sites would be jointly carried out by SIM and the Institute of Reservoir Studies, which is run by ONGC in 10-15 prospective sites. The survey and pilot project would cost us around $15 million," said Y B Sinha, director (exploration), ONGC, on Monday.
"Our talks with CIL are at an advanced stage, while a tie-up with NICL is also on cards before we start the pilot project. We have set a seven-month deadline to begin the project," he said.
ONGC and SIM would come out with a detailed work plan on developing and applying the technology in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.
"With the huge gap between demand and indigenous supply of energy in India, we feel gas from UCG is an attractive alternative. We are also going to initiate talks with officials of the government of Rajasthan for such projects," said Sinha.
ONGC has already signed a memorandum of understanding with the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation for UCG projects in Gujarat.Denying to divulge the amount involved in the ventures, Sinha said, "The money part would be worked out later as the joint venture proposal with CIL was put up before the company board recently. The deal with NLCL has also not been finalised."